Patent filling shows Hyundai is working on the implementation of touch-sensitive controls for the steering wheel.
We certainly don’t have something against cramming a lot of technology inside a car as long as it makes our lives better. This doesn’t seem to be one of those cases as Hyundai’s patent for steering wheel-mounted touch-sensitive controls previews a feature we wouldn’t want to have on our cars.
In general, touch-sensitive buttons are a bit annoying because in many cases these are not responsive enough. It’s not the end of the world to have these controls on a dashboard, but seeing them on the steering wheel is just something we would avoid.
Hyundai’s R&D department is doing just that, working on a way to put touch-sensitive controls on a steering wheel. This feature is mainly addressed to drivers wearing gloves that have a difficult time adjusting the car’s functions using the conventional buttons mounted on a steering wheel.
What Hyundai is researching is not exactly a big novelty since other automakers have done it already, including Toyota with its Prius as well as Honda with the latest Civic that has a capacitive-touch volume button on the steering wheel.
In addition, spy photos of the next-generation Porsche Panamera from the beginning of the year have shown the center stack is going to be packed with these buttons. However, that’s not going to be a big problem compared to having them on the steering wheel where a driver will accidentally hit these buttons once in a while.
A function to adjust sensitivity would probably eliminate most of the hassle, but even so we would still prefer physical buttons. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?